Rap and R&B music executive Stan Sheppard penned the book, Sharks, Demons and Gangsters, which is the true and unfiltered story of how the Black music genres were formed in the United States and the men responsible for building this multi-billion dollar industry.
The memoir and tell-all book also chronicles the sinister plots launched by the major record labels and their executives against the artists on their companies’ rosters and how hit artists are chosen based on criteria other than creative excellence.
Sharks, Demons and Gangsters follows the music executive from his early teens on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s and his family’s history. The story also takes a deep dive into to the East Coast-West Coast rivalry between Sean “Puffy” Combs and Suge Knight and the dangerous circumstances and deaths surrounding the conflict.
Here’s his interview.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book to educate the people in the country and (especially) the recording artists about how evil the major recording companies are and the devious plots and plans they launch to line their pockets with money they don’t deserve.
What is the story behind the title of the book?
The book has this title because when you do business with the major recording companies you are doing business with Sharks, Demons and Gangsters. Their whole objective is to control the artists’ lives and find ways to chip away and tap into every revenue source brought to the table by the artists themselves.
What do you hope the readers will get from this book?
I want the artists and the people who love music to know that the major labels are nothing but “economic gangsters” who will do just about anything imaginable to get what they want.
How did you arrive at your career choice?
My father, Bunky Sheppard, and my uncle Eward Abner were the pioneers in Black music in the United States.
They were with Vee-Jay Records with Vivian Carter and her husband Jimmy Bracken in the 1960s. They were the first major Black record company in America. They even signed The Beatles first.
My father and uncle went on to be the president and senior VP of Motown Records for many years and guided the company through it’s most lucrative times.
My father also was president of the Black music division at 20th Century Fox Records where he launched the careers of numerous platinum artists from Barry White, to Carl Carlton (“She’s A Bad Mama Jama”) and Leon Haywood (“I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You”).
I was the young 15-year-old who they trained in the business and for the last 40 years, I have been with Island Records, Motown Records, Geffen Records, RCA Records, and Capitol Records. My clients and my personal record label, Sheppard Lane Records sold a staggering 23 million units worldwide from 1996 to 2017.
How long did it take to write the book?
Two years. It was a labor of love.
All inquiries concerning Sharks, Demons and Gangsters should be forwarded to [email protected]